Cultivate Champions


These resources will help you to identify, coach, and support active and prospective sustainability champions from throughout the organisation. These resources will equip them with the knowledge, competence, and self-efficacy to challenge the status quo and effectively contribute to your organisation’s sustainability journey.

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Supporting Your CEO

CEOs play a crucial role in embedding sustainability into the strategies and day-to-day decisions of their organisations. Based on over 200 interviews with CEOs, board members, and sustainability executives from a range of global companies and a review of prior academic research on CEO decision-making, we developed these resources to share insights on how corporate change agents can help influence CEO thinking on sustainability.

In our Guide, we describe each of the characteristics in detail, incorporating as many direct experiences as possible to help sustainability change agents think about how to support their CEO. We also developed a Tactical Inventory to help change agents reflect on these tactics and to identify which of them might be most appropriate for their own setting.

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Becoming an Agent of Change

This guidebook is based on a multi-year research project we undertook to explore: 'Why and how do privileged insiders become agents of change, challenging institutions for broader societal benefit?' We share what we have learned about the process of becoming an agent of change, incorporating the experiences of the change agents we interviewed in their own words. We hope that this guide helps you to reflect on your own journey of change.

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Being an Effective Change Agent

How can you prepare yourself to be a more effective sustainability change agent? This guide was designed to share insights on how change agents can support their CEO and influence thinking on sustainability. It is based on a review of prior academic research on CEO decision-making and combined with the practical experiences and insights gleaned from interviews with over 200 CEOs, board members, and sustainability executives. It explores a broad range of global companies and industries including finance and insurance, material extraction, retail, manufacturing, transportation, logistics, utilities, and agribusiness, as well as a diverse array of ownership structures, including public corporations, privately owned businesses, and co-operatives.

To further support you in bolstering your own effectiveness, we have also developed the Being an Effective Change Agent: Personal Inventory. We encourage you to use this as a tool for reflection, and to help you plan your future personal development.

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Formerly know as the Canadian Business Youth Council for Sustainable Development, Re_Generation is committed to influencing change within schools to advance early knowledge and understanding of sustainability and to empowering young employees to create internal changes in the workplace. Their company transition toolkit synthesizes the most thorough and useful resources available on key issues such as ecological wellbeing, human wellbeing, and ethics, and includes summaries, key considerations, and recommendations for action. Re_Generation's resources can help to develop sustainability champions who are early in their journey, as well as support change agents who want to broaden their understanding of existing tools and frameworks and how they are connected.

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sSWOT: A Sustainability SWOT

The sustainability SWOT (sSWOT) is a framing tool designed to help drive action and collaboration on environmental challenges by identifying real business risks and opportunities. The sSWOT helps individuals engage and motivate colleagues - particularly those with limited knowledge of environmental issues or corporate sustainability. Most importantly, it can help identify new insights and communicate the importance of sustainability to senior decision-makers.

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Sustainability ROI Workbook

Sustainability champions often find that securing approval for sustainability-related projects requires comprehensive cost-benefit information. To meet this challenge, Bob Willard created the Sustainability ROI Workbook - a free, open-source, fill-in-the-blank workbook designed to helps users identify, quantify, and monetize all potential direct and indirect costs and benefits associated with a sustainability project. The resource includes a sample project to show how the calculations work, as well as step-by-step guidance, and will be particularly useful for securing support from cautious, financials-focused leaders.

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Rewiring leadership: The future we want, the leadership we need

"The systemic pressures the world faces today mean that leadership simply cannot be the preserve of a ‘heroic’ few."

This report from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Learning (CISL) explains how companies can develop leadership that can deliver value for business, society, and the environment. Informed by CISL's work with over 9,000 leaders, the paper outlines their leadership development model, which explores the thinking, values, and practices required to wed 'business purpose' with 'the leadership we need'. This paper will help inform your approach to leadership development and support you in cultivating diverse leadership capacity at all levels.

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Change Management for Sustainable Development

This comprehensive practitioner workbook from the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) aims to be a model of good practice that can help your business to bring about sustainable development through skills and insights from the field of organisational change. The book explains how change within an organisation happens; explores the changes you can (and should) make and how to embark upon them; and provides examples, insights, and tangible steps for engagement.

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Practices for Cultivating Capable Champions

This section from Chapter 5 in Focusing on Organizational Change offers seven practices that can better enable your organisation to cultivate capable change agents and help them to flourish.